Staying in to save lives

The message from our Prime Minister has been loud and clear this week – we must all stay at home to protect our NHS and to save lives.

Reducing our social contact with others is one of the hardest things that many of us will ever have been asked to do, but it is the single biggest measure we can take to reduce the spread of the disease, therefore allowing our NHS a fighting chance of helping those suffering from the Coronavirus or other conditions and reducing the number of deaths.

As I’ve reiterated in my vlog this week, the only reason any of us should be going out is to travel to and from work, where this is absolutely necessary, for medical reasons or to provide care or to help a vulnerable person, for one form of exercise a day, either alone or with members of your household – staying 2 metres away from others – and to shop for basic necessities, infrequently.

As a council we are doing all we can to minimise the impact of Covid-19 on residents and businesses in line with Government advice. We’re making changes to our services to prevent the spread of the virus and prioritising essential services like adult social care, schooling for the children of key workers and vulnerable children and bin collections.

We want our city to continue to thrive once the outbreak is over and will do everything in our power to ensure this.

Our overwhelming message is that if you are struggling, please do not do so in silence, come and tell us. There is help available and we can make sure you receive this help.

If you are not struggling, we need your help.

#reachout coordination hub

Last week we launched a COVID-19 coordination hub, in response to the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government direction, to provide targeted support for those most at risk.

The hub has a specific focus on providing access to food, medicines and other supplies in the first instance, as well as co-ordinating the need to make sure there is adequate staff and resource capacity to serve a significant increased level of demand in critical service areas, such as the NHS and social care.

A plea has gone out to people in our communities who will be experienced, qualified and/or willing to undertake public duties in a voluntary capacity who are willing and able to volunteer their time.

If you are someone who wants to help, but aren’t necessarily sure how, then please get in touch. For more information visit our website where you can also register your interest.

We’re also asking people to tell us how they are helping those around them who are socially isolated.

We know there are lots of acts of kindness taking place every day in our communities, including restaurants offering to deliver free food to vulnerable groups, local shops offering deliveries and residents looking out for elderly neighbours in other ways. There are also lots of social activities taking place too, making sure people can keep in contact from afar. I’ve seen online choirs, exercise classes and pub quizzes in the past few days.

We want people to share with us on social media what they are doing to be neighbourly and in turn encourage others to think about what they can do.

Financial support for businesses

We know that this is a time of great uncertainty for businesses. We will be delivering on what the Prime Minister promised in his briefing last week, including a 12-month business rates holiday for all retail, hospitality and leisure businesses in Peterborough from 1 April 2020 to 31 March 2021.  This will also apply to non-local authority childcare providers.

A number of grants announced by the government will also be paid as soon as legislation allows us to do so.

Council tax advice

We know that many residents will be concerned about how they can make sure they continue paying their monthly bills, such as council tax. We are waiting for Government clarification on how to help residents who most need relief from council tax payments.

Anyone who is struggling to pay their council tax should contact us at the earliest opportunity.

Our teams can be contacted on 01733 452258 or by email on local.taxation@peterborough.gov.uk

In order for us to help those who need it most, we need residents who are not financially impacted at the moment to continue paying council tax

Life as we know it has changed for the time being, but we have a plan and we can get through this. When we reach the other side, I like to think that we will all be far more aware and considerate of others in our communities and more charitable in the time and support we offer them.

In the meantime, please stay at home, protect our NHS and save lives.

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